Happy New Year! Many of us welcome the new year by reflecting on the past one. What were the hot topics for contact center professionals over the last 12 months? How will that influence your strategic resolutions for the next 12? In honor of the year 2020, we bring you the top 20 blog posts of 2019.
Chatbots series: Chatbots in the Contact Center
With consumers expecting anywhere, anytime access to conduct simple transactions, more businesses are deploying chatbots to handle routine and repetitive customer service tasks. Automation has enormous appeal as an efficient, affordable option for companies that lack the human staff to effectively manage the workload in the contact center (one of the top 3 challenges cited by participants in our recent Challenges and Priorities survey).
Contact Center Executive Outlook on 2020 and Beyond
Across industries, research reports are predicting that businesses can expect more change in the next five years than in the last 50. That certainly seems true enough in the contact center world where the pace of change has been accelerating exponentially—often with dizzying effects for the three key elements of the contact center operations framework: people, process and technology.
The Future of the Contact Center
We embarked on a fun little survey this spring to gather input on the future of the contact center. Our focus was on which technologies are expected to have the greatest impact and what that impact might be. We started with a general look forward into the expected impact of automation on frontline staffing levels.
How to Be a Supervisor in the Modern Contact Center
Company cultures and leadership styles tend to shift over the years as they adapt to the behaviors and expectations of the dominant generation in the workforce. This is evidenced today by a rise in employee-centric values and transparent leadership practices among senior executives across industries (courtesy of the millennials).
Revisiting Contact Center Schedule Adherence
When you find someone in a contact center who is passionate about schedule adherence, it’s a good bet he/she is (or once was) a member of a workforce management team (WMT). That’s because all of the forecasting and scheduling and planning done by anyone in a WMT is useless if no one actually follows the plan. Yes, agents and supervisors on the floor also care about adherence and want to meet the objective. But in the WMT, it goes beyond just wanting it. Good adherence is vital to the WMT’s survival.
Getting Off to a Flying Start… Or Are You?
The idiom “off to a flying start” is defined as “a start or beginning of anything, as characterized by the participant’s vigor and enthusiasm.” To be off to a flying start is often considered as an advantage, for example: “She was off to a flying start due to graduating at the top of her class.” Some advantages, however, are short-lived if initial enthusiasm is greater than the capacity for true insight that has not yet been achieved.
3 Trends and Challenges for the CX Industry in 2019
In the increasingly crowded business landscape, there are a few specific focuses that organizations can invest in to give themselves a boost in attention and customer loyalty. Customer experience (CX) is an area that can provide both this increased attention and help maintain customer loyalty—that is, when CX is done the right way. In fact, nearly half (49%) of U.S. consumers would post a positive review of a brand online or on social media, encouraging others to shop with the brand if they’ve had a good experience. However, half (50%) also reported they have stopped doing business with a brand in the past year due to a negative customer experience.
5 Ways to Win with Gen Z Workers
Gen Z is known as the fastest-growing workforce in America right now. And although many employers might feel daunted by the influx of new workers who bring with them alternative thinking and work habits, new research and expert direction can help call center managers prepare now to create a welcoming environment.
Answering the Personnel Call: Four Ways Contact Centers Can Enhance Agent Recruitment and Retention
While the competition for top talent intensifies across the business landscape, contact centers often feel the impact more than most. Top-performing contact centers require exceptional agents to lead a memorable and impactful customer experience while upholding their company’s brand and values. Whether through direct, chat or online engagement, the agent role demands specialized skills that are not easily replaceable. This reliance makes the annual American call center turnover rate, which the Quality Assurance & Training Connection estimates to be as high as 45% (more than twice as high of any other field), even more disruptive.
Four Ways to Attract and Retain Millennial Agents
Pew Research Center defines millennials as anyone born between the years 1981 and 1996 (ages 22 to 37 in 2018). Today more than one in three members of the American workforce are millennials, making them the largest generation in the U.S. workforce and the prime pool for current and prospective contact center agents. Because of today’s healthy economy, millennial job-seekers can be selective.
How to Make Your Contact Center Digital Transformation a Success
I recently had a conversation with Richard Antosik, Vice President, Digital Operations (Client Services) at Laurentian Bank regarding their contact center’s recent digital transformation. The following are the questions and answers regarding their lessons learned.
Four Key Contact Center Technologies for 2019
As we end 2018 and reflect on what’s ahead in 2019, it seems like a good time to think about what’s new and what’s next in contact center technology. My team of consultants identified the top things we see dominating contact center technology discussions. I’m going to highlight four key technology areas in this post. My call to action is this: Reflect on what you are doing in each of these areas. Assess where your center is today, where you have pain points, and how these technologies can help you transform. Then make a plan to pursue or explore them further.
High Absenteeism? Consider Your Agents’ “Breaking Point”
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty frustrated by clients, prospects and some contact center managers who think that the only reason agents are absent from work is because they are lazy. Not only is this conclusion frequently detached from the facts of what’s causing the absenteeism, but it also abrogates a level of responsibility on the part of management.
How AI Can Make the Holidays Bright
The winter holidays aren’t always “the most wonderful time of the year” for the contact center. Time-off requests and spikes in call volume, especially in the retail industry, can bring forecasting and scheduling headaches that rival those induced by too much eggnog at the office party.
CX Versus GX: When Worlds Collide
Let me start by once again offering a real-world experience, such as the one I described in my April 2019 column, CX Pundits vs. CX Practitioners: Real Life or Fantasy? In it, I described the wonderful world of the customer experience as described, written about, and generally fawned over by contact center industry pundits, and how that wonderful world compares to the real-world that I often experience when it comes to customer service. In the end, the problem I described in that column was solved and I’m still a customer of that company.
KISS Method: “Keep it Simple with Speech”
Speech analytics has gone from a trendy, cool technology to an essential software that reveals insights into customer-agent interactions. Speech solutions provide the tools necessary to capture, organize and analyze unstructured information to make insights actionable.
How Embracing Digital Customer Service Can Create Brand Advocates
Rapid swings in consumer brand loyalty is one of the most significant consequences of the digital-first era in customer service, where customer-brand conversations are no longer only one-to-one phone calls but also include public and private messages on dozens of social and digital messaging apps. This opens exciting new possibilities for both your business—and your competitors.
Leverage Customer Data to Deliver a Personalized Customer Experience
Customers are tired of being treated like numbers. They’re aware of how much of their information and feedback is being collected, and now consumers want the companies they do business with to use that data to provide a more personalized experience. According to a recent Accenture Pulse Check, 83% of consumers are willing to share their data to enable a personalized experience as long as: (1) businesses are transparent about how they are going to use the data, and (2) customers have control over it.
Speech Analytics in 2019 and Beyond: With Change Comes Opportunity
If you’ve been lucky enough to be in the audience when an engaging speaker hits the stage, you know that his or her first words come with authority. Because of that, everyone else’s ears perk up a little bit, the notebooks and pens come out to scribble down the firehose of information being shared, and each member of the audience feels a little more at peace knowing that they’re getting the answers that they came to the session to find. And, by the reaction of the rest of the group, they know they’re not alone.
Cautious Optimism… Taking Ownership of Communication
Cautious optimism is defined as “a feeling of general confidence regarding a situation and/or its outcome coupled with a readiness for possible difficulties or failure” (TheFreeDictionary.com). I had an interesting experience when I called my insurer the other day. I approached the call with “cautious optimism.”